It’s the nature of emergencies that they can strike at any time. Thankfully, many of these problems can easily be addressed before they become too serious. With a little preparation, you can keep your home safe from the majority of issues.
When safeguarding your home, Murray Lampert understands that you may not be able to find every possible issue in time. We’ve compiled a list of 10 common sources of household emergencies so you can be better prepared and rest easy.
Storms are one of the biggest threats to your home, because the weather is something no one can control. Setting up home flood protection is key to ensure your house is as secure as it can be from flooding.
Make sure that your landscaping is adequately graded so water flows away from your home’s foundation, keeping it in the ground and out of your basement. Take some time before the storm to clean out your gutters and downspouts too, since overflowing water can find its way into your home very easily.
Flooding isn’t the only way water can damage your home. Leaking or burst pipes can wreak havoc on your home’s interior, requiring major renovations to repair. Water damage is notoriously difficult to fix, so taking some extra steps is worth it.
Check your basement or crawl spaces for unusual water spots or puddles, and keep an eye out for water spots on walls or ceilings. Making sure your cold-water pipes are insulated and exterior faucets are closed off for the winter will help keep pipes from freezing and water flowing like it’s supposed to.
3. Fire Safety
No one wants to face the risk of a house fire. Fortunately, setting up fire protection for a home just takes a little extra time and maintenance. Electrical issues are a common source, so checking outlets for discoloration and ensuring they aren’t overpopulated with plugs and power strips is an excellent start.
Consider keeping a chemical fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen and get an extra one for the laundry room, because poorly maintained dryers can also be a hazard. Don’t forget to replace smoke detector batteries too, so you have warning just in case the worst does happen.
Nothing is worse than coming back from a great night out to find your home has been burglarized. Simple steps such as locking windows, doors and garages can go a long way to keep that nightmare at bay. Other things that can help include:
- Thorny bushes under windows
- Motion sensors
- Gravel drive/walkways
- Well-lit lawn and entryways
- Maintained and secure fencing
- Double-key deadbolts
Taking these few precautions will go a long way to alleviate worry when you’re away from home.
5. Furnace Problems
When a furnace fails, it can make winters unbearable and even force you to find alternate lodging. Regular HVAC maintenance is a necessity to prevent this from happening, but even keeping it in good order won’t stop every issue.
Sometimes it’s as simple as a failed pilot light, which you could take care of yourself after turning off the power. Have a carbon-monoxide sensor handy as well to keep you safe from invisible fumes and alert you that there’s an issue you can’t readily identify.
Don’t wait until there’s an obvious problem to check your roof for loose shingles and remove dangerous debris before they become a real threat. Having surrounding trees well-maintained is a good idea too, as that will reduce the risk of damage from falling branches.
Make a trip up into your attic to check for leaks or suspicious water spots. There could be holes where animals can gain entry or cracks in the sheathing (your roof’s substructure) that need to be fixed right away.
The best way to prevent insect and rodent problems is to keep them out in the first place. Take a good look along the exterior of your home for signs that animals have tried to enter, and close them off as soon as possible.
Keep ants and roaches away by making sure areas are neat and uncluttered, and remove trash regularly since animals and insects are drawn to odors caused by rot and leftovers. Setting bug and mouse traps will also help forestall an infestation before it gets out of control.
8. Power Failure
Preventing a power failure might be out of your control, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. Depending on the season, you may need to leave your home to keep warm, but make sure you stop by daily to run water and check for freezing pipes if the temperature gets too cold.
Warm weather poses its own problems since frozen and refrigerated food can quickly go to waste. Having coolers and ice on hand is a good solution, as well as asking neighbors with electricity for storage help. In any case, make sure you have powered flashlights and candles readily available.
Make sure you don’t slack on household mold prevention. Damp spots on walls are a good indication that moisture is seeping in, so keep an eye on your home’s exterior for cracks or breaks.
Poor ventilation is also a big factor in bathrooms and showers, creating perfect conditions for mold to form. Ductwork can also be a culprit, because condensation can also be a contributing cause. Keeping moisture down will reduce the risk of mold by a large margin.
It might not seem like an emergency now, but not being able to get into your home is definitely a crisis when it’s happening. Leaving a key under the mat or hidden near the deck is a huge security risk, and so is leaving windows unlocked.
If you have an unattached garage that secures with an automatic opener, consider hiding a key there so only you have access to it. Giving a key to a good friend or neighbor is another way, while installing key-pad entry on the front door can alleviate lockouts all together.
If you do end up with a home emergency, it pays to work with a reputable local emergency buildin services company. Our preferred partner for emergency building services in San Diego is Christian Brothers. They’ve been around since 1980, and have helped countless San Diego homeowners prevent or recovery from water and fire damage, mold remediation, and more.